Resource Center

Drain Right Drain Cleaning & Plumbing, Inc. has many goals but our #1 goal is customer satisfaction! As a gift to our customers we have provided you with some information and resources

Here are a few frequently asked plumbing questions that may help you in your search for answers. Want to ask a question? Feel free to send us a question on our contact us page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Thermocouple?

  • Most water heaters and furnaces Have a Thermocouple. This is a safety device that ensures that the gas to your pilot light is shut off in the event that the flame goes out. You may have a bad Thermocouple if you cant keep your pilot light lit. Replacing your Thermocouple can be a complicated and dangerous application, so it is advised that you hire a Plumber or HVAC tech to do this job.

Why do I run out of hot water so quickly?

  • To answer your question I’ll have to start by saying that this can be caused by many things.
    One common thing can be that the dip tube may have broken. The dip tube is the tube in the water heater that directs the water to the bottom of the tank where the heat source is. This is so the cold water coming in doesn’t mix with the hot water in the top of the tank that is going to your fixture. With a broken dip tube, every time you run hot water, cold water enters the tank right next to the exit point for the hot water and quickly dilutes the hot water and cools it down.
  • Another cause can be a problem with the thermostat. This does not allow your water to heat up or stay hot.

Why should I upgrade to a tankless water heater?

  • Most tankless water heaters operate much more energy efficiently than a regular water heater. For instance a regular water heater has about 40 gallons of water in the tank at all times with a thermostat that tells the heater to turn on to heat the water when ever it cools down and can turn on many times a day, even when you don’t use it, plus you have a pilot light that stays lit at all times constantly consuming gas.
  • A tankless water heater only turns on when you use your hot water and has no pilot light. So let’s say you go on vacation or you are gone all day, your tankless water heater will consume no gas at all!
  • Another bonus is that you will never run out of hot water. You can take as long of a shower as you want and on top of that run multiple fixtures at the same time.
    One more bonus is that most tankless water heaters will last twice as long as a regular water heater.

What is a T and P Valve?

  • A T&P Valve is called a temperature and pressure Valve. It is simply a safety device found on the side of a water heater. when this Valve leaks the heat or pressure of your water heater maybe to high or the valve its self could just be bad. If the water pressure to the home is to high this can also make the T and P Valve leak and a Pressure regulating valve maybe needed. Never Cap this valve off because it is designed to let water out to either cool the talk or reduce pressure.

When should I replace my water heater ?

  • One of the most obvious signs that a water heater needs replacing is when the tank itself begins leaking.
  • Age, When a water heater reaches the 10 year mark you are getting really close to that time. Most water heaters will begin leaking after 10 years.
  • Hot water runs out quickly or never gets hot enough, even though this could be caused by many other fixable issues some times mineral deposits accumulate on the tank and get so thick that it will decrease efficiency of the water heater.

How do I know if my main sewer is backing up?

  • Sometimes it can be confusing when determining what drain is actually backing up, because sometimes a kitchen sink clog can come up in a floor drain or shower for example. The best way to test to see if it’s your main line is first you need to understand a main line will in most cases back up in the lowest drain in the home. If you have standing water in that drain, simply flush your toilet and watch to see if more water backs up. The toilet goes straight into the main line, so in most cases this will cause more to back up. Caution, keep in mind that you can cause flooding when you do this so be mindfull of the area the water is backing up in before you make more of a mess, or call out a plumber or drain cleaning company to check it out for you. We provide free estimates so give us a call.

Why does my main sewer drain back up every year?

  • Chances are you may have a tree root problem. Most sewer lines have a bell and hub connection and there is a section of pipe every 3 feet. Fine roots can grow in this part of the line and sometimes the roots or erosion can crack or break your sewer and roots will enter there as well. You can never stop the roots completely and preventive measures may be needed to keep your line clear so you don’t have a flood in your home or raw sewage backing up into your house.
  • My advice would be to have your sewer line inspected with a camera after it’s cleaned out so you know for sure the nature or the problem you are having and use preventive measures for these tree roots, scheduling us out once a year to clear out the roots before the problem occurs.

Why is there a bad odor in my disposal and how can I keep this from happening? Can I use orange peels?

  • Simple answer, make sure you don’t have anything stuck in your disposal. Putting items such as orange peels and things like this down your disposal is a bad idea and chances are this is why there is an odor in the first place. Don’t use your disposal as a garbage or trash can.

My garbage disposer is jammed, how do I fix it?

  • First make sure it is turned off before putting your hand into the drain. Then remove as much debris from it as you can. Second, try pushing in the red button on the bottom of the disposal and if that doesn’t work get a Allen wrench and look under the disposer in the center for a spot to spin the motor with the wrench. This may work but once it’s unjammed, you need to fish out the object that was causing the jam.

What’s the difference between using a plumber or a drain cleaning business to fix my clogged drain?

  • That’s a good question. Most plumbers that specialize in plumbing use drain cleaning machines to open the drain for further inspection of your drain and in most cases this is all it needs. A drain cleaning business that only cleans drains will snake your drain and go. If other problems develop such as leaving you with a possible broken pipe or a problem that cannot be fixed with a cable, then you will need to call out a plumber to fix the rest of the problem. Give us a call. we do it all.
  • My advice is to only let a qualified plumber work on your plumbing. Not that all drain cleaning companies can’t help fix the problem but it is best to have someone that can do both, FIX your drain and clean your drain.

What is the average cost of drain cleaning?

  • This is a very open question and the best way to get a price is to have a plumber come out and give you a free estimate. Each drain and each access point for cleaning can have a different price so beware of the bait and switch, don’t trust a solid quote over the phone and definitely don’t trust a company that has a spiffy price built in to its name. Real plumbers know that there can be 100’s of variations that can affect the price. We will give a BALLPARK price over the phone just to be helpful but we want to come out and see the problem and then give you a an accurate estimate.

Why does my toilet keep running?

  • This can be caused by a lot of things but understand that you have a fill valve in the toilet tank that will turn on when the water level starts to drop. You may have an old flapper that is leaking water into the bowl or the flush handle is getting stuck and that will keep the flapper from fully sealing. Also the actual fill valve may need to be replaced.

Is it true that some older homes have lead plumbing?

  • Yes this is true. Older homes often have lead drains and some even have lead water lines coming into the home. Give us a call to seclude a plumbing inspection today.

What is a back flow preventer?

  • A back flow preventer is a device that a plumber installs on your water line. If a drop in water pressure occurs or you get back pressure, The device prevents dirty water from getting pulled back into the fresh water system.

Tips & Tricks

Drain Right Drain Cleaning & Plumbing, Inc. would like to offer a few basic plumbing and drain cleaning tips for those who like to do basic plumbing maintenance that is necessary to maintain a healthy plumbing system. First we must advise you that most plumbing and even drain cleaning should be done by a professional who is qualified and properly insured. Plumbing can not only be very confusing but it can also be dangerous. If not done right, you can cause thousands of dollars in property damage.

Please make sure of a few things before you get started:

  • check your local code on any project you do
  • make sure you are familiar with everything before you jump into the project
  • feel free to give us a call for advice or help if you are unsure of anything. On this page we will discuss only basic plumbing maintenance and preventive tips

Did you know that a lot of drain cleaners on the market today contain acid that can and will cause corrosion to your drainage system? A safer alternative that will save you money in the long run is to hire a plumber to clean out your drain.

In most cases, if you have a clogged sink you may need to use a machine or call a plumber to unclog your drain if it’s clogged in the wall. One common blockage you can fix yourself is if the p-trap is blocked.

In this case all you need to do is:

  • Place a short bucket under your drain and slowly loosen your trap nuts until water starts to drain out .
  • Once the water is done draining, you can take out the u-shaped part of the trap and remove debris.
  • Put back together, being careful not to cross-thread the nuts and make sure you only hand tighten the drain (only on PVC or ABS slip joint drains). If it is a chrome p-trap, then you may need to use a adjustable wrench to tighten it.
  • Test for leaks and if the drain blocks again, it is probably blocked in the wall. At this time you may need a professional.

Even though your drain system seems to be able to handle a certain amount of solid waste, the more you put down your drain, the faster it will get clogged.

Kitchen sinks:

This is probably the most commonly abused drain in the house. As a rule of thumb, unless it’s stuck to your dish, don’t put it down the drain, and never dispose of any food waste in garbage disposal. A disposal is meant to chop up all the food that comes off your dishes in order to help your sink drain after washing a large load of dishes. Avoid dumping any oil or grease down the drain as well.

Toilets and the main sewer:

The only thing other than human waste that should go down the toilet is toilet paper. In a lot of cases, something as small as a Q-tip can cause a toilet clog or blocked sewer drain. Because a lot of sewer lines have a web of tree roots growing in them, a paper towel or a sanitary wipe can stick to the roots and remain in the drain for a very long time. You can understand how this can cause a back up.

If at any time you smell gas in the house, you should call a plumber right away, as you may have a gas leak. In some cases, though, a gas smell can be as simple as a floor drain being dried out. P-traps are on all plumbing fixtures and drains as a section of pipe that is shaped as a u and it is meant to hold water in it at all times. This trap acts as a barrier to keep all the sewer gas from traveling up your pipes and into your home from the city sewer. If the p-trap on any of your drains has dried out, just pour a small amount of water in each drain to make sure they are holding water.